Kingdom’s farm sector holds huge potential for investors

Updated 19 September 2012
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Kingdom’s farm sector holds huge potential for investors

Demand for agricultural products is swelling across Saudi Arabia, driven by a population boom, rising incomes, affluent lifestyles and a strong economy – the largest in the Gulf region.
Recent studies reveal that the Kingdom currently has around 34,997 hectares of organically planted land with sales of organic products expected to achieve 10 percent annual growth, fueled by the increasing awareness among the local community about the advantages and diversity offered by organic farming.
The study predicts organically planted land to form 5 percent of the total planted area in the Kingdom. Furthermore, poultry consumption is expected to grow by 17.2 percent to reach 1.6 million tons in 2016, while milk production could increase by more than 17 percent to 2.1 million tons between 2015 and 2016.
The Saudi government has allocated SR 60 billion to boost the domestic agricultural sector this year and is actively looking at regional and global agricultural products and services and focusing on organic alternative farming to meet the growing nutritional needs of its citizens.
The upcoming Saudi Agriculture 2012 – the 31st International Agriculture, Water and Agro-Industry Show — will unveil some of the latest solutions addressing the rising demand for agricultural products in the Kingdom and throughout the region. Running from Sept. 24 to 27 at the Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Centre, the trade fair will cover animal health and production, agricultural finance and banking, agricultural products and services, chemicals and fertilizers, cold storage and crop production, and dairy farming products and equipment, among many others.
Confirming their presence in the event are several key regional and international agriculture industry players and leaders who will share business, investment and policy views with high-ranking agriculture officials. The event is accredited by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.
“Saudi Arabia holds huge potential for investors and businesses who want to work in the region’s largest growing agricultural marketplace.
The 2012 national budget shows how the government has taken a serious stance toward addressing the food needs of its people so now is the perfect time to forge and strengthen ties among local agricultural and food players. Saudi Agriculture 2012 is an ideal platform for determining which solutions can drive the Saudi food agenda,” said Khalid Daou, project manager of Saudi Agriculture at Riyadh Exhibitions Company.
Saudi Agriculture 2012 will showcase the latest in animal health and production, agricultural finance and banking, agricultural products and services, chemicals and fertilizers, cold storage and crop production, dairy farming products and equipment, fisheries and fish farming, greenhouses, handling and transport systems, irrigation and landscaping equipment, machinery and spare parts, organic farming, packaging systems and products, pesticides, pumps and pipe systems, seeds and soil nutrition products, spraying machinery, water treatment, water management systems and warehousing.
Running concurrently with Saudi Agriculture 2012 is the Saudi Agro-Food 2012 — the 19th International Trade Show for Food Products,
and the Saudi Food-Pack — The International Exhibition for Food Processing and Packaging, to feature the latest products, technologies and services in areas ranging from frozen and chilled foods, confectionery, chocolates, health and natural foods, to presentation, processing and packaging equipment.


Turkish lira hits record low, down 20 pct against dollar this year

Updated 23 May 2018
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Turkish lira hits record low, down 20 pct against dollar this year

ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira tumbled more than 5 percent on Wednesday before recovering some ground, the latest drop in a sell-off that reflects growing investor alarm over the direction of monetary policy under President Tayyip Erdogan.
The decline, exacerbated by stop-loss selling by Japanese retail investors overnight, brings the lira’s losses to more than 20 percent so far this year and puts it on track for its worst monthly performance since the 2008 financial crisis.
The sell-off has also increased expectations that the central bank may be forced to call an extraordinary meeting to raise interest rates before its next scheduled policy-setting meeting on June 7, as it has done in previous years.
“We expect the MPC to hold an interim meeting over the coming days to raise interest rates by at least 200bp,” Jason Tuvey of Capital Economics said in a note to clients.
“If policymakers refrain from tightening monetary policy, the risk of a disorderly adjustment and a sharp economic downturn (possibly recession) will mount.”
The lira was at 4.8500 at 0855 GMT from its close of 4.6746 on Tuesday. It earlier touched a record low of 4.9290. It also fell against the Japanese yen, amid talk Japanese retail investors were selling the lira as it hit stop-loss levels.
“We are bearish on the lira and always have been given its very weak external balances and with macroeconomic policy moving in the wrong direction as well,” said Kiran Kowshik, emerging markets forex strategist at UniCredit.
A self-described “enemy of interest rates,” Erdogan wants borrowing costs lowered to spur credit growth and construction, and he said last week he would seek greater control over monetary policy after elections set for June 24.
Economy officials told Reuters the government’s economic management team met at the start of this week to discuss potential measures, including possible steps by the central bank. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and Central Bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya attended the meeting.
Ratings agencies sounded alarm about monetary policy. S&P Global senior sovereign analyst Frank Gill told Reuters government finances could deteriorate rapidly if authorities failed to stem pressure on the currency and government borrowing costs .
Investors want to see decisive rate increases to rein in double-digit inflation, and Erdogan’s comments have reinforced long-standing worries about the central bank’s ability to do that.
Borsa Istanbul Group, the Istanbul stock exchange company, said in a statement on Wednesday it had converted its foreign currency assets into lira, aside from its short-term needs, in a step to support the Turkish currency.
The lira’s weakness was exacerbated by dollar gains against a basket of currencies, with investors awaiting the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting for hints on the pace of monetary tightening.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond rose to 15.30 percent at the opening from a last trade of 14.92 percent on Tuesday.
The main BIST 100 share index fell 0.22 percent to 103,105 points on Tuesday.